Free Consultation (800) 272-4080
Call Now (800) 272-4080

Poorly Executed Care Transitions in Hospital Results in Added Injuries to Patients

January 27, 2022

Did you know that 20% of all patients suffer a preventable health problem within three weeks of leaving the hospital?

This includes the “transition to nowhere” where there’s a gap in the continuum of care to appropriate primary care follow-up which leads to no follow-up care whatsoever!

What is a Care Transition?

A care transition happens when patients move between different healthcare settings, like from a hospital to home care, from post-op surgery to a rehabilitation center, or between different practitioners. Transitional care includes a wide range of services and environments aimed at promoting the safe and efficient movement of patients between levels of health care and across care settings.

However, poorly executed transitions can harm patients and result in added medical expenses, pain and suffering, and unnecessary hospital visits.

Why is High-Quality Transitional Care Important?

High-quality transitional care is especially critical for seniors with multiple chronic conditions and complex therapeutic regimens, along with family caregivers. These patients usually get care from many providers and move frequently within health care settings. But a growing body of research shows that these older adults are particularly vulnerable to breakdowns in care. As such, they have the greatest need for transitional care services.

The poor “handoff” of older adults and their family caregivers from hospitals has been connected to adverse events, low satisfaction with care, and high rehospitalization rates.

Suboptimal transitions occur relatively often. Medicare alone spent $17.8 billion on avoidable readmissions in 2013, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that on discharge from the hospital, nearly a third (30%) of patients have at least one discrepancy between their discharge list of medications and the medications they actually take at home.

What Causes These Gaps in Critical Transitions?

There are a number of factors that contribute to the gaps in care during critical transitions. These include:

  • Poor communication;
  • An incomplete transfer of information;
  • Reliance upon electronic medical records can add complications and increase risk;
  • Inadequate education of older adults and their family caregivers;
  • Limited access to essential services;
  • The absence of a single point person to ensure continuity of care;
  • Language and health literacy issues;
  • Discharge decisions can be rushed or incomplete; and
  • Cultural differences.

Experts say that family caregivers play a major—and perhaps the most crucial—role in supporting older adults during hospitalization and especially after discharge. But if they don’t receive the proper information about care, medicine, and therapy from their doctors and the hospital, their loved one can suffer serious injuries in these transitions.

What are the Most Common Care Transition Events?

Most care-transition events allege a diagnostic error, and the top diagnosis-related conditions are cancer, cardiac/vascular, infection, and neurological. After diagnosis-related care transitions, these are the also most common:

  • Medication-Related
  • Medical Treatment
  • Surgery/Procedure-Related
  • Obstetrics-Related
  • Patient Monitoring
  • Anesthesia-Related

And the top locations are external, which includes:

External: a transfer from one facility to another facility or medical office, and the majority of these involved transition from hospital to another facility, but also include inpatient to rehab, inpatient to home, ED to home, inpatient to office, ED to offi­ce, and outpatient surgery to home.

Internal: a transfer within the same facility—like the ER to radiology.

Office to Office: a transfer from one medical office to another, such as a primary care physician to a gastroenterologist.

Contact Us

Specific types of care transitions can pose great vulnerabilities and potential injuries to patients, including office-to-office, emergency department-to-home, unit-to-unit within a hospital, and from hospital to post-acute care facility. If you or a loved one has been injured from a poorly executed care transition in a hospital, clinic, or another healthcare facility, speak to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer in Michigan. The Buchanan Firm proudly serves people across Michigan, including major cities like Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Detroit, Lansing, Holland, St. Joe, and Ann Arbor, and rural towns such as Lowell, Ada, Fremont, Newaygo, Grand Haven, Rockford, and Cedar Springs.

We will meet with you after-hours, at home, or in the hospital to accommodate you.

Contact The Buchanan Firm today!